If I Gave the Award

I recently posted my last review of the books on the shortlist for the 2010 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. So, as usual, it’s time for my feature, If I Gave the Award, when I tell you if I think the jury got it right.

Cover for Conspirata2010 was a strong year for historical fiction, and the shortlist reflects that. Of the seven books on that year’s list, I really enjoyed four of them, liked one other, and didn’t enjoy two others as much. Of the weakest entries, I felt that The Glass Room by Simon Mawer was cold and withdrawn, and I did not enjoy the subject matter of Hodd by Adam Thorpe, although it was effective at evoking the historical period. The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds was interesting, but I still felt removed from the subject.

Cover for Wolf HallThe strongest entries, in my opinion, were Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant, Lustrum by Robert Harris (published as Conspirata in the U.S.), Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears, and the winner, Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. Sacred Hearts, Lustrum, and Wolf Hall were best at evoking a sense of period and place, while Stone’s Fall had a great mystery.

If you follow my blog closely, however, you can probably guess which one I will pick. Wolf Hall was on my Best Books list for the year 2012. It is, in fact, one of my favorite books ever. So, I agree with the jury this time.


7 thoughts on “If I Gave the Award

  1. Helen January 19, 2018 / 3:36 pm

    I think the jury made the right choice too, although I did also love Lustrum and Stone’s Fall. I still have the others from 2010 left to read.

  2. whatmeread January 19, 2018 / 3:55 pm

    Yes, so did I. I usually like Dunant but don’t think her books are wonderful, but Sacred Hearts was surprisingly good.

  3. katknit January 19, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    I’m with you – Wolf Hall is brilliant.

  4. FictionFan January 19, 2018 / 8:17 pm

    Well, I’m in no position to judge since Wolf Hall is the only one I’ve read, but I totally agree it’s a great book and can’t imagine any of the others beating it. Though one day I will get to the Robert Harris – just as soon as I’ve read the three of his that are already on my TBR…

    • whatmeread January 19, 2018 / 9:01 pm

      You can’t go wrong with Robert Harris.

  5. Naomi January 21, 2018 / 7:37 pm

    Wolf Hall is one of your favourite books ever! I better read it! 🙂
    Don’t you love it when the jury makes a good call?

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